Sony will launch two Android-running tablets this fall. One, a wedge-shaped model, features a 9.4-inch display, while the other pairs two 5.5-inch displays in a clamshell design.
Sony, deciding this whole iPad-sparked tablet business might
indeed have legs after all
, has announced that it plans to release two Android-running
tablets this fall.
The first, code-named "S1," has a unique wedge
shape-a design thought to make it easier to hold-and a 9.4-inch display,
and, according to Sony, is "optimized for rich media entertainment."
The second, known for now as the "S2," features a
clamshell design that's not a far cry from Sony's Nintendo DS console. Its
5.5-inch displays can display separate images-surf the Web on one side
while checking email or typing on a virtual keyboard on the other, say-or
collaborate as a single big screen, albeit with a black bar down the center.
(The pros tend to insist that one barely notices such seams. Kyocera's
dual-screen Echo phone
has one, too.)
Both tablets, unveiled April 26,
will run the "Honeycomb" version of Android, include WiFi, 3G and 4G
connectivity, and will be able to access
cloud-based services that Sony plans to
offer, providing video games, books and other content.
"-Sony Tablet' [a placeholder name] delivers an entertainment experience where users can enjoy cloud-based
services on-the-go at any time," Kunimasa Suzuki, corporate
vice president and deputy president of the
company's Consumer Products & Services Group, said in a statement.
"We're aiming to create a new lifestyle by integrating consumer hardware,
including -Sony Tablet' with content and network."
Given Sony's gaming history, the tablets unsurprisingly will be able to access first-generation titles
from Sony's PlayStation Suite through Qriocity, a network platform Sony
launched in 2010 for connecting its other network-enabled devices to its games.
Sony is a bit late to the tablet game. Hewlett-Packard, Dell,
Research In Motion, HTC, Motorola and others have already showed their hands,
if not released products. Nonetheless, Sony is shooting for the top. Or
something near it. Acknowledging that Apple
is the "king of tablets,"
Sony's Suzuki told Reuters in January
that Sony "would like to really take the No. 2 position in a
Suggesting the company's late entry was a strategic move and not a liability, Sony CEO Howard Stringer, also
speaking to Reuters, noted, "If I want to differentiate it from others, do
I release it tomorrow, or do I wait till I differentiate it?"
Stringer added that Sony was debating whether to include 3D
capability. While Sony didn't directly address this in its April 26 statement,
an odd phrasing in a quote from Google Senior Vice President Andy Rubin,
discussing Honeycomb in the statement, suggests Sony may have taken a stab at
"Android 3.0 is a new version of the Android platform
with a new holographic user interface that is designed from the ground up for
devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets," Rubin said.
"I'm excited about 'Sony Tablet' as it will further spur the development
of applications and network offerings which users are looking for."
Competitor Dell arrived early on the tablet scene, though
with a display size that turned out to be a dud-a
thing it plans to rectify
. CEO Michael Dell, speaking recently with the Wall Street Journal
, was asked what surprised
him most about the evolution of the tech industry since he became CEO four
"The rapid rise of the tablet," Dell told the
Journal. "I didn't completely see that coming."